back to article Australia mostly sticks to its guns in final plan to make Google and Facebook pay news publishers

Australia has revealed the legislation with which it plans to force Google and Facebook to pay local news publishers for linking to their content, a plan the nation hatched to funnel more revenue to news outlets whose business models didn't evolve fast enough to remain viable in the internet age. The legislation reveals one …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    The News Corp Bill

    AKA

    News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code Bill 2020.

    The current Lib/Nat Government is just the waterboy for Rupe.

    Murdoch must be paid!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The News Corp Bill

      They should just blackout all Australian news organizations. There aren't any good ones anyway.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: waterboy for Rupe

      Since Trump told his devotees to boycott FoxNews for about the first time in history, the truth in the Biden won the US Pres Election, the ad revenue for Fox has plummeted.

      He'll soon be down to his last billion so needs to monetize everything he can while he is still alive.

      I'll make no comment on the fact that he has way more money than he could ever spend before be pops his clogs.

  2. veti Silver badge

    Google and Facebook talk about reducing their operations? Whoa, result. Now all we have to do is make them follow through.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @veti

      "Now all we have to do is make them follow through."

      Didnt that already happen? Wasnt it Germany and Spain, both of which caved after the value of Google was realised (the news outlets lost most of their traffic).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @veti

        Google News is still disabled in Spain, but you can go to another country's Google News and get results for Spain, which is something that can't happen by accident.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: @veti

          @AC

          You are right. Spain is still blocked which has apparently affected smaller news sites but the big ones carried on as before.

          1. Dinanziame Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: @veti

            It's logical that closing down aggregators is bad for small sites and good for big media corporations. The big orgs tend to be known to users already, and ironically they can afford advertising campaigns on Google to find more users. For large media companies, the biggest problem of news aggregators is that they start on the same foot as fly-by-night operations, and they cannot outbid the small sites when the service is free.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Is Google driving traffic to the news sites, or are the news driving traffic through Google?

      Google & C. keeps on forgetting that without someone else generating contents, they are utterly useless. Once they have killed the content creators revenue streams, they will see their traffic and ads business to drop too - unless they start to spend money creating the same contents. Which exactly means spending those money they don't want to pay.

      BTW - what business model is viable for news operations as long as nobody pays for the news gathering and processing? Ads only are viable up to a point - unless all you need is just stupid gossip and cute cats.

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

        "Unless all you need is just stupid gossip and cute cats."

        But this is effectively what the online version of my local newspaper has become. Pretty much minimal actual "reporting" by people who can't spell or do grammar correctly, but then with each page then spaffed full of Google sourced adverts, and even those then locked behind a paywall.

        And they then wonder why they are struggling for views eh?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting

    I guess we will get some idea what the publishers think the value of Google is in directing visitors to their sites.

    Should make for fun watching, publishers: Our content is worth a fortune

    Google: Ok so if we stop including you we (google) will be losing valuable content, and you (publisher) will loose nothing, OK let's try that.

    or maybe they will come to a 0:0 draw.

    1. CrackedNoggin

      Re: Interesting

      Size, and the resulting leverage, is important. If Google's news aggregation site in Australia has no Australian news sites, Australian readers will go directly to Australian news sites, or another aggregator. If Google's news aggregation site in Australia is missing only one Australian news site, that news site will experience a huge drop in readers - Google's news aggregation site, not so much.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting

      If they don't come to an agreement, a state arbitrator will step in and dictate terms to both parties. It's not clear to me what's part of the deal, in particular if Google doesn't like the terms whether they would be able to just close down its news aggregator site, or whether they'd have to pay for news sites showing up in Google search results. Or whether they'd have to remove news sites from search results. Or whether they'd be allowed to do that.

      1. Jon 37

        Re: Interesting

        Presumably if they closed down all their offices, facilities and servers in Australia, and decided not to take money from any Australians or Australian companies for anything, then they could do what they want. Australia wouldn't have jurisdiction over them.

        They may not want to take such a drastic step. Or they may decide the nuclear option is the best defence.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the first time

    Didn't Spain (I think) try something similar a few years ago?

    Google simply stopped linking to the national papers websites, traffic (and hence ad revenue) dropped off dramatically for the papers. The papers pleaded with the government to reverse the whole thing and within about 2 months it was all quietly forgotten.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Not the first time

        't was in Germany that publishers had to reverse course...

        1. RyokuMas
          Meh

          Re: Not the first time

          I guess that even if the same thing happens here as did in Germany, it's yet more ammunition any anti-trust cases...

          The big question would be how to force Google to back down: only thing that springs to mind would be a China-esque firewall blocking all Google traffic

          1. James O'Shea Silver badge

            Re: Not the first time

            Should Germany, for example, fire up anti-trust, the sonic boom you hear would be Google switching off Google.de. Users inside Germany could, I suppose, use Google.com, but specifically German items may be buried in the search. Similarly, if France, or, indeed, the entire EU, attempted to fire up anti-trust, I see Google simply pulling the plug in France/the EU. It's not as if they can't make billions from the entire rest of the planet.

            Personally, I use Firefox, not Chrome, and DuckDuckGo, not Google search. I no longer have Gmail, mostly due to shenanigans Google pulled. (They wanted me to use their 'secure' app. I declined, and used Apple Mail on Macs and iDevices, and Outlook on Windows, and attempted Thunderbird on Linux. Google said that they weren't sure that they could verify that I was the person who owned the multiple Gmail accounts in question, all four of them, and locked them down. I had complete backups of all mail and contacts, so I got new email accounts, contacted everyone who had the old contacts, and drove on. I'm not feeling the love for Google.) Google is big. Google is evil. Google can live without newspapers in Germany, Spain, or Australia a lot better than the papers can live without Google.

  5. DeKrow

    News? Since when?

    I'm not sure how any of the Murdoch media empire is going to get their hands on any of the money from this. I thought the Murdoch press was a pedlar of entertainment in a way that, fairly specifically, doesn't cross into anything resembling news. Any news content is generally accidentally stumbled into on those rare occasions when entertainment and current events converge.

    For example, Andrew Bolt authors one of the funniest dead-pan, conservative-on-steroids impressions I've ever come across. It's entertaining as all hell, but there ain't a skerrick of news.

    1. nijam Silver badge

      Re: News? Since when?

      > ...pedlar of entertainment in a way that ... doesn't cross into anything resembling news.

      But they still market it as news, don't they?

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